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Etihad is an incredible partner of American Airlines. Etihad is not part of American’s oneworld alliance, nor is it a partner of US Airways, but you can use American Airlines miles to fly Etihad in style to the Middle East, Indian Subcontinent, and beyond.

We explained how to search and book Etihad award space with American Airlines miles in “Anatomy of an Award: Booking Etihad Business Class Using American Miles.”

Etihad First Class
Etihad First Class

Etihad’s First Class is a fully enclosed suite. Etihad Business Class is a fully flat bed. And Etihad flies to several North American cities, with particularly great First Class award space to/from Washington-Dulles:

While I salivate about riding in Etihad First Class for 90,000 miles each way between the United States and the Middle East, Maldives, or Indian Subcontinent, there’s a bit of a hiccup.

American Airlines agents cannot book Etihad flights for the moment.

  • Why can’t American Airlines agents book Etihad flights?
  • What is your workaround?

The Problem

Three days ago, reader Vaidy emailed me to say that he had found economy award space on Etihad from Los Angeles to Abu Dhabi to Bengalore, India.

He had followed the steps in our post about booking Etihad award space. He found “GuestSeat” availability and called American Airlines at 800-882-8880 to feed the agent the flights. She didn’t see them. Neither did the next three agents.

Similarly reader “tee” reported finding two business class seats from Washington-Dulles to Abu Dhabi on Etihad’s website, but an American Airlines agent couldn’t find them.

So I went searching and found out that others have reported the same problem on FlyerTalk:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/22940949-post65.html
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/22941220-post67.html

And it looks like the issue, according to the Traveling Better forum is that the issue is that Etihad is not displaying award space correctly to American Airlines. American has brought the issue to Etihad’s attention. American Airlines’ agents have been instructed to apologize to callers who want Etihad award space and to advise them to call back.

(Of course, not all agents seem to have gotten the memo because neither Vaidy nor tee got that response from agents.)

The Solution

There’s no way to book the Etihad award space at the moment. Hopefully the glitch will be fixed in the next few days, specifically the next five days. Why?

American Airlines allows free five-day courtesy holds on AAdvantage award reservations.

If you planned an award with Etihad award space plus flights on other American Airlines partners, put all the non-Etihad flights on hold for the next five days. If the award glitch is fixed in that time, your Etihad space will likely still be there, and you can add it in to your held segments.

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